Share Your Humiliating English Conversation Experiences & Get Advice!

By Robby

If you are new here please read this first.

If you’ve visited my blog at least once, I bet you have some English fluency issues; here are a couple of stories I can share with you so that you fully understand what exactly I’m talking about! 😉

A few years ago I was looking for a new job, and at that time it was quite popular to hold the first round of interviews over the phone – obviously companies didn’t want to waste their time and effort on candidates falling short of the requirements.

I’ve had had quite a few phone interviews before this particular one, so when I picked up the phone to hear a woman’s voice asking me if I’m free to talk about the direct sales position I was going for, I felt quite confident that I would perform fairly well!

And that’s when it all started going downhill…

For some reason I couldn’t understand (now that I’ve dealt with my fluency issues I actually understand it all quite well!) I just couldn’t find the right words to say.

I started hesitating, I was stumbling upon words, and I was also making all sorts of stupid grammar mistakes although normally my English was fairly good.

It all ended with the interviewer telling me that I should actually improve my English before applying for similar positions…

Needless to say, I was mortified and I felt humiliated! 😡

And here’s another situation I found myself in a few years ago.

I was working in a call center as a data analyst at the time, and luckily enough a senior position opened up in our team. So it happened that I was the most likely candidate to get this internal promotion, and the only formality preventing me from actually sitting in the senior seat was an interview with our manager.

And that’s when the disaster struck…

Under normal circumstances I would have no major issues speaking with the manager, but for some reason during the interview I felt as if my ability to speak in English has been reduced to a total beginner’s level ❗

Somehow I managed to pull it all off in the end, but the experience was really unpleasant – I felt like a total idiot and I kept thinking all the time: “Oh my God, what is he thinking about my English skills?!”

What I want YOU to do right now is quite straightforward.

I want you to POST A SIMILAR STORY in the comments section below!

Basically tell us the most humiliating situation you’ve been in which involves losing your ability to speak proper English and not being able to find the right words to say!

I promise to respond to each and every single of your comments by explaining how you can manage similar situations in the future as well as providing detailed step-by-step instructions on how you can improve your English depending on your particular circumstances.

So what are you waiting for?

Post your most humiliating experience in the comments section below, and don’t worry – you’re not going to be judged because having such issues is totally normal and all my blog readers are having (or have been having) such English fluency problems countless times! 😉



P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out the English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System
  • Hi Nandkishor,

    And thanks a lot for asking the question!

    Actually we can separate two types of English fluency improvement:

    1. Improving English for specific occasions – such as interviews and meetings.

    2. Overall fluency improvement.

    While the latter will take a longer period of time to accomplish, you can actually prepare for specific events much faster than you think it’s possible.

    You simply have to:

    * Write a possible interview scenario including questions you may get asked as well as your answers;

    * Do plenty of spoken self-practice whereby you act both as the interviewer and yourself;

    * Over a few days you’ll become very comfortable talking about your work experience, qualifications and other kind of things discussed during job interviews simply because you’ll have memorized a lot of relevant phrases etc.

    Here’s a good article in relation to job interview preparation you should definitely read:

    As for the overall fluency improvement – well, there are no magic bullets there!

    LOADS of spoken English practice will do the trick and you can do it all by yourself by doing plenty of speaking about various subjects OR using products such as the English Harmony System: where the speech exercising is fully automated and made much easier.

    Bottom line: SPEAKING a lot is the key, learning English phrases and expressions as opposed to grammar studies is a MUST, and then you can realistically expect a great improvement to your spoken fluency within a few months!



  • nandkishor ganapuram

    Hi Robby, Good day!

    Thanks for sharing reading materials and the experience and the unique style of understanding the root causes of issues in english speaking for beginners in english spoken.

    1. I m lagging behind in achieving the next position im looking in my career only because of the reason i can’t speak english fluently..

    Though i have others skills to fit into the next level of the position. Eventually negatively impacting on my annual appraisals in the company.

    2.I feel as awkward and afraid to speak in english in interviews..

    This has become hurdles to improve my english speaking and develop myself.

    Could you tell the ways how can we get familiarise with English language.. and ultimately speak fluently.

  • Hi Mohammad and thanks for your questions!

    So, first things first – pronunciation.

    You see – the thing is that no matter how much you practice you’ll still say things like Leks instead of Let’s so it’s really no big deal – it still happens to me sometimes! 😉

    If you’re really serious about your pronunciation improvement however and you think you really need to be working on it, you have to do very regular practice. I mean – not just some but ALL THE TIME.

    You may want to check out my other blog where I’m touching upon pronunciation improvement related matters.

    Now, speaking of your second question – spoken English practice is a MUST.

    Nothing else is going to do the trick.

    If you can’t think in English, then obviously you need to bring about the word flow which is only really possible when you speak, and you have to make all possible mistakes and say things in all possible stupid ways before you get them right – but the bottom line is – you have to DO it.

    Gradually over time you’ll improve, and provided you’ll also learn plenty of idioms and phrases and use them in your practice sessions – you should do just fine in a year or so!



  • Mohammad

    Hi robby!
    First I’m gonna thank you for your fantastic website. I’m learning English as a foreign language and this site helped me a lot!
    I had two questions that I wanted to ask you.
    1-The first one is about my pronunciation.
    I know the sound of every words, But when I try to say, They come out differently.
    I don’t know what to do.
    I watch movies, listen to musics etc… and try to repeat afterward, But I’m still at low level in speaking.
    For example, a few days ago I wanted to say “Let’s” but I said “Leks”! It’s terrible!
    2-You say “try to think in English and don’t translate your thoughts into English.”
    Right. But There is a problem for me.
    I can’t think even a bit in English.
    I’m not trying to say that I translate my thoughts. No. I’ve put aside this old habit.
    I mean that when It comes to thinking and speaking or writing It seems as though I have no idea what English is!
    My mind become empty of any English word!
    I should mention that I know many words though. I learned them in context not by memorizing them.
    In other word, It looks like my inputs (Listening – Reading) is acceptable but about my outputs (Speaking – Writing) things are different.

  • Thanks for the comment David – and tell us please if you’ve had any embarrassing moments when speaking in Czech with locals – I mean, have you ever gotten stuck in a middle of a conversation and felt really embarrassed about the whole situation?

  • Hi Jignesh,

    Ideally – I warmly suggest you look into my product called the English Harmony System

    It’s a video course containing 90 speech exercising and 10 motivational lessons, and you gain access to it immediately after you’ve paid either using your PayPal account or Credit card.

    There’s a 60 day money-back guarantee on it as well, so there’s really no risk involved!

    The methodology is the following:

    * You listen to a phrase – and it’s also displayed on the screen.

    * Then you repeat it – and you have to do it 3 times in a row.

    * After listening to 5 phrases you have to use them in a dialogue where you’re either asked a question or you have to answer a question asked by the digital character.

    * The whole point of the lessons is to wire natural English speech patterns – phrases, collocations, idioms etc – into your brain so that you can use them automatically!

    * You don’t have to force yourself to do anything, you should do the lessons in a completely relaxed manner and it’s going to give you the best results – you’ll be surprised how the speech patterns will simply come out of your mouth by themselves without you even realizing it!

    Here’s the order page:

    And here’s the FAQ page:

    If you prefer doing spoken English practicing on your own though, here are resources on how to do it:



  • Hi Juhapekka,

    Here’s the video I recorded as a response to your previous comment:

    I hope you’ll enjoy it! 😉



  • Jignesh Harsora

    Dear Robby
    I love so much your guidance and your kindness to help us improving English. Thanks again. My issue is when I read something as well as speak good but when I time to speak with someone I hesitated. I speak but not good. I want to speak English smoothly and continuously and fast as you speak. You tell us speak with yourself. How should I do it. I am waiting your response.

  • Juhapekka

    It seems as if it’s surprisingly common getting stuck with some simple question or sentence and I have had similar experience in this year, too: Some foreigner in the street asked me to tell what time is it and the weird thing was that I immediately remembered how to say it in German language and I started to say accidentally something like that “Es ist…is’t…it’s fünf…it’s fifteen…past five” and the result was hesitating answer. I have studied German but this was weird because my German is much, much weaker than my English and I have never spoken German in real life. Of course, how frequently someone experiences that kind of problems with simple sentences depends on many factors like how much you have speaking or conversation experience or how deeply some phrases or other naturally occurring English speech patterns have imprinted into your mind or how confident you are when you are speaking English or when you have last spoken English etc.
    I’m also curious to see what kind of video or article you, Robby, are going to make in the answer of my previous comment.

  • I can relate Robby. Lol..
    Well my worst experience learning Czech (for your readers, I’m an English speaker) was when I had a dance lesson a year ago. Once it was established that I was a foreigner, one Czech girl after another in the class who I danced with didn’t even bother speaking to me in their own language, it was just all in English.
    Then to make matters worse the teacher spoke to me in English – as everyone heard her speaking English, I had no chance at all.
    In the end even though I didn’t speak a single word of English the whole time, almost everyone ‘over-ran me’ with English.
    The only good thing was that one couple knew I was making an effort and they spoke in Czech with me.
    That was the night I realised once and for all that an English-speaking living in Prague will never be accepted, and then I decided to move to Moravia.

  • Thanks for the comment Ruzanna, and I’m sure you’ll improve your spoken English a great deal if you keep doing the lessons and also do plenty of spoken English practice aside from that!

    Also, please understand that making mistakes is totally fine – it’s something none of use can avoid so if you’re trying to sound perfect at all costs, it may actually backfire on you and make your speech even more erroneous! Read more on it here:



  • Thanks a lot for your comment Sergi – I really appreciate your positive feedback and I’m really glad you’ve embraced the contextual English learning principles along with understanding the fact that spoken English practice is the main vehicle that’s going to drive your English improvement!

    Speaking of your experiences with the bus driver – I actually had something very similar happen to me just after I’d arrived in Ireland – I got onto a bus and tried to ask the simple question “How much is the return ticket?” but I just couldn’t get the message across to the bus driver because he didn’t have a clue as to what I was trying to ask him! 😉

  • Ruzanna Khachatryan

    Hi Robby,

    My goal is to master English really well that enable me
    to express what I want to say. You know, sometimes I want to say more difficult
    things like my opinion about something or my feeling towards something or
    somebody and usually I get stuck and nervous. I am afraid even to start because I can’t
    choose the right words to say and get myself in stupid situation. In case that
    I should call or speak with someone here in Canada, I need to prepare in
    advance in my thoughts. So, it is really frustrate me and I WANT to speak
    fluently without mistakes. I am hard-worker and never give up. Recently, I have
    started to study your Speech Master program and hop that it will help me to
    speak with confidence and without hesitation.

    Thank you for your valuable job that help a lot of people
    to communicate and express their ideas, opinion and feeling free and easy.


  • Sergi

    Hi Robby,

    First of all I’d like to thank you for all your material that you produce devoting plenty of hours and also for your english harmony system, which I find it really useful. I’m at the begining of module 3, but I’m still worried about being stucked in a conversation.

    I’m also studying at an English academy, and what I find quite frustrating is how everything works. Before discovering your web site, I also thought that there was in this kind of system to teach English that it wasn’t enough for students. And what really annoys me is to try to acquire new vocabulary going through boring book units in a separate way, with little context on those words and with very little speaking practice. It’s quite funny to see how my mates write the words down in a notebook, but I’m not doing it anymore because I believe that it’s a completely waste of time to do that.

    It is also frustrating for me that this particular teacher is always telling to us that we have to READ a lot. That the only way to learn new vocabulary is to read from different scources. But he’s completely wrong on that, that’s not the best way to get new vocabulary, idioms or collocations.

    Well, I consider that at least I understand the language because I don’t have any problems into watching or reading whatever thing in English and fully understand the situation. But in boring unnatural situation created at an English class in order to speak about a particular topic, I face some problems in order to find something to speak it loud. But If I have to speak about something in a completely different situation, it improves a lot, altough I also have to face some problems of fluency, but at least, I’m able to communicate with other people in English.

    I had a weird situation in London at the begenning of the year, in which I weren’t able to ask to a bus driver a question about if I was at the right bus lane and in which stop did I have to get off the bus. That was a very easy question to make, and I know what words I had to use, but I wasn’t able and thank God that the bus driver helped me to produce the sentence to him.

    Finally, I’d like to thank you once again for your support to improve our English speaking fluency.

  • Hi Sunny,

    The real problem here is you being UNCOMFORTABLE and it’s got nothing to do with your conversational English falling short of your expected standards!

    So here are a couple of things you just have to convince yourself of:

    #1: Your spoken English is ALWAYS going to be different from your writing simply because that’s the nature of things. When you write, you’ve got an awful lot more time to consider how and what you’re going to write; when you speak you just say the first thing that comes to you and quite naturally all that content is going to be of a lesser quality, so to speak. But the thing you have to tell yourself is that it’s totally FINE!!!

    #2: Discomfort of your English standards arises only because you compare your own English with someone else’s. DON’T DO IT. There’s nothing wrong with speaking in simple, short sentences, and there’s nothing wrong with being succinct and to-the-point when talking to people.

    Lastly, allow me to remind you that your English is going to improve throughout the rest of your life for as long as you keep practicing, but for the time being just try and force yourself to be OK with your current state of English.

    I know it’s not that easy, but that’s the ONLY way out – just be OK with the way you speak while at the same time keeping up your practice and improving your English on a constant, ongoing basis.



  • Sunny

    HI Robby, I have a good stock of vocabulary. I am amazing in writing English but when it comes to speaking i just cant find the pertinent vocabulary to describe my feelings. My English does not sound that rich while I speak. I try to close my conversation in two to three sentences, I feel uncomfortable to carry on long conversations. Please suggest me an effective way out. Thank in advance !

  • Hi Mikhail,

    I think in your position (and it actually applies to any English learner) you have to lower your expectations and embrace the concept of simplicity!

    It’s way too often that foreigners try to maintain high English standards and set their expectations too high and in the case of failure to understand or say a certain thing they feel as underachievers.

    It’s way more productive to learn very simple phrases and conversational sentences and use them in your conversations (and try to suppress the inner voice within you trying to tell you that your English is too simple and childish) than trying to speak in a way you IMAGINE you SHOULD speak but being actually unable to maintain that standard.

    Basically don’t FORCE yourself to say something you think you SHOULD say or understand – instead focus on things you can understand and can say.

    It may seem like an insignificant change in attitude, but it will really change everything for you if you truly embrace the concept of simplicity.

    I hope it helps a bit,



  • Thanks Juhapekka for your lengthy comment – and I really, really understand how you felt because I’ve had experiences like yours earlier in my life and also quite recently!

    So, here’s my advice.

    The funny thing about such situations is that you CAN’T really train your ears to understand EVERY English speaker in the world – unless you spend your entire life travelling the English speaking world and living in each geographical area for a good few months to get used to the local dialect.

    In your example the South African accent and slang was simply something you hadn’t been dealing with before, and you can’t possibly blame yourself for the inability to understand what that person was saying.

    And that’s the pitfall for people like you and me – we take all the RESPONSIBILITY for the situation and we feel as if it’s up to US to make sure the conversation goes smoothly.

    In reality the South African chap was the one who had to make sure you understood what he was saying, and the bigger problem actually isn’t the following:

    How I can understand what he was saying?

    The actual problem is:

    How I can stop feeling guilty about such situations in the future?

    To answer this question and also other questions you asked in your comment, I’m going to record another video tonight so stay tuned and wait for the video to go live!

  • Juhapekka

    At first, I thought that I have nothing to share because I don’t have much English conversation experience (I live in Finland where isn’t always much opportunities to speak English and I’m not that kind of person who take every opportunity to speak English because I have been very unsure about my English and I’m not good speaker even in my native language) but then I remembered a case which bothered me much. That day became as clear as yesterday to me when I remembered it. It happened about few months ago and it was degrading experience that reduced my self-confidence when it happened. I start my story from the beginning: I had met few international
    students and I had conversation with them in English because they weren’t able to speak my native language. I understood their every word very well and when they asked me questions I was able to respond. We had good conversation and I hadn’t much troubles to discuss with them and finally the conversation experience was pleasant to me. I was very pleased that I had dealt with the conversation so easily but then my troubles began. Later in the same day I met one student from South Africa and he spoke very good English (maybe English was his native language because I have understood that English is one of the official languages in South Africa and he spoke
    English really well). In the beginning of the conversation I noticed that I have troubles to understand him even though his words were familiar to me. I understood something but as much I didn’t understand some other things he said to me. However, I perhaps understood some main ideas he was talking about but then he asked me one question and I didn’t understand the question at all (in fact, I couldn’t be able to distinguish any word in his question). I asked him to repeat the question and when he repeated it, I didn’t understand it. Then I asked him to speak slower and when he repeated his question again, the result was the same: even then, I didn’t understand it any better. Then I asked him to explain his question but he spoke too fast and I didn’t understand him at all. I really didn’t understand anything what he is explaining. I asked him repeat again more carefully and slower but he began to speak faster and I didn’t understand anything what he is saying. I couldn’t understand him and finally he said that he is busy and he has to leave. The conversation was interesting but it was also awkward because he repeated the same thing
    five or six times for me and I didn’t understand anything and also in the same time my confidence in English conversations dropped dramatically and suddenly I lost my ability to speak English properly. That’s weird because ability to understand and ability to speak are two different things but anyway my momentary inability to understand the South African reduced my confidence so much that I felt I was unable to speak English anymore. I really felt that I was the worst English conversationalist in the world which is, of course, irrational because I had spoken English properly before in the same day.

    In nutshell my problem is how can you train your ear so that you can be sure you understand always native English speakers or foreign English speakers. My inability to understand the South African student was surprising and shocking for me because I usually understand spoken English perhaps 90 or 95 percently and Robby’s videos
    are easy to understand. Many years ago I was very poor English listener (perhaps I understood under 25 percent) but I have practiced my comprehension skills so much that I understand English much better than ever before.

    I have analysed why did this happen and I have concluded that I have still troubles to understand fast natural English which is linked and reduced and also unstressed quiet sounds can be very difficult to distinguish. That’s why, in order to improve my confidence in English conversations I have to improve my ability to understand fast natural spoken English and mimic those natural English sounds but advice in detail would be still very useful. And I’d want to ask also what is the best way to deal with situations when you don’t understand something at all (for example, my conversation with African student)? And secondly how can you prevent “English blackouts” when you suddenly lose your ability to speak at all.

    By the way, I listened also video in your article “Do You Get Intimidated by Eloquent English Speakers? You Shouldn’t!” The
    Chinese speaker in this video was quite easy to understand to me and I was able to distinguish every word in his speech but you were right that it was difficult to understand what was his main message he was going to say for his audience and I should watch the video again few times if I wanted to understand his main message. The Chinese speaker was eloquent and his speech was sophisticated but my South African wasn’t eloquent or sophisticated: he spoke much faster than the Chinese speaker in the video and he used some kind of slang expressions which was very difficult to distinguish or understand. He spoke too fast even if I asked him to slow down his speech. So, what is the best way to deal with these kind of situations? Thanks, Robby for your efforts to help English learners and improvers. I know that your site is
    mostly for English improvers but it’s useful also for learners. I think I’m both: I’m both English learner and improver.

  • Michael (Mikhail)

    Hi Robby!
    I think I have other problems in English. At first I’m not an Intermediate or advanced student, so my language skills don’t allow me to be fluent. I’m 55 and I often forget words not only in English but in my native language too. And I hope that studying English will help me to keep my memory good. Maybe I’m not motivated enough because I’m not going to get any wonderful job or position. I just want to chat with people. Sometimes I meet native English speaking people in my town and try to speak with them in English. And every times I experience failure. Besides poor vocabulary my bad listening skills prevent me to achieve success. I can’t catch even well-known words. But… I hope I’ll get better results step by step.
    Thank you for taking the great interest in my English.
    Michael (Mikhail)

  • Thanks Sachin for sharing your story with us, and I can only imagine how you felt during the interview when asked all those questions you didn’t expect at all!

    You see – the funny thing is that when we can’t answer an unexpected question, our foreign background is immediately blamed (the person stutters and hesitates ->he/she is a foreigner -> he/she mustn’t be able to express themselves in English properly) yet when native English speakers find themselves in similar situations no-one would even dare to question their English skills because they’re born English speakers!

    It’s unfair, but it’s a fact, and here’s how to make it easier for yourself to answer unexpected questions:

    I know it’s not that easy in real life, but believe me – a lot of these situations could be managed much easier if we perceived the issue for what it is (not knowing enough about the matter asked and then simply admitting it) instead of trying to say something about something we haven’t got a clue about.

    Thanks Sachin!


  • I know only too well how it feels, and speaking of your issue, I have to tell you that it’s nothing unusual at all.

    So many foreigners are struggling to speak fluently even despite having build massive English vocabularies and being proficient with grammar, and it’s all because of the way English has been acquired traditionally – mostly by a way of writing and reading.

    Please read this article/watch this video where everything is explained in the very detail.

    Now let’s get down to what you can actually do about it.

    Spoken English practice is the only thing that is going to help you in long term – you can either just start doing regular self-practice by speaking with yourself: or buying my best-selling product English Harmony System where such spoken practice is automated and makes the whole thing an awful lot easier.

    Basically the simple answer is – you have to do PLENTY of spoken English practicing, and in relation to the hesitation and stuttering issues – you’ve got to embrace the concept of ignorance! I know it’s easier said than done, but it really helps, and you can read more about it here:

    Any more questions – just let me know!



  • Hi Komal,

    It may sound counter-productive, but in order to improve your conversational grammar you need to… STOP focusing on grammar so much!!!

    All those years ago I used to dedicate pretty much the entire English study time to learning grammar rules and memorizing individual vocabulary words both of which are really damaging to one’s fluency.


    Please read more here:



  • sac777

    Everybody hates that shameful experience. And posting on forum is again more embarrassing. 😛

    But anyway I would like to share it. Hope some of you would feel
    better after reading my story…:)

    Mine is somewhat similar to Robby’s experience.

    Believe me friends…These appraisal takers are already a trained people from HR-department for looking down on you in one or another way. If you score in one aspect, you lose on another.

    Total tally is “zero” in their books… 😀

    When my time came, I was well prepared for my appraisals. When
    my turn came I sat for the appraisal interview. Initially everything was going fine till I had been asked about my job related activates.

    Now comes the 2nd round, an ace weapon of interviewers …. Behavioral issue, team work, interpersonal skills, your proactiveness and much more.

    Friends..! Frankly speaking, back then, I don’t know a bit about these things. Then how I was supposed to prepare myself for these questions?

    They wreak me in this round… I started stammering & stuttering, speaking in such an incoherent manner that I felt like I don’t deserve this post and they have done a biggest favor by keeping me on the job. And I should be thankful to them that they took me in the first place by going out of the rule which defines bare minimum requirement of a candidate in their company.

    I didn’t understand, moment before this I was speaking in coherent manner now suddenly what happened that I am struggling to find words to defend myself? I end up red faced… 🙁

    Thus they got what they wanted (total tally “zero”). I felt ashamed of myself of being such a poor communicator and having no ability to convince others and I have an ultra serious issue with soft skills. :O

    Finally, they won I lose.

    But… they had no other candidate who can handle the responsibilities better than me:D (I already knew that very well) and I got away with the promotion (I earned that 🙂

  • afreen

    Hmmm, not 1, I have many such experiences, being a teacher of international school, they have lots of expectations from me, I have good degrees, b.ed. mba, I was the brightest student in my class, I got this job on my degrees, but after working there, I realises that degrees isn’t enough now, speaking good engligh, with good phrases, proper grammer z must, I had many bad experiences at school, I was confident enough for the 1st 2 days, but everyone started ignoring me. No one talked to me, I felt little hesitant and Started stuttering, not even with my colleagues and my student’s parent as well… I want to improve my English, want to speak in proper tense, want to speekup during meetings, plz help… sorry it went bit long.. ..

  • komal

    i have the same gramatic problems